Successfully switching careers as a scientist

The first workshop of the series "Moving out of academia to..." organised by the CERN Alumni Office dealt with career opportunities in the financial sector (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN)

A job in a research environment is often seen as a natural continuation of one’s university studies. However, statistics indicate that only a small percentage of science graduates will actually pursue a career in academia or in a laboratory like CERN. What options do scientists have if they have to leave their comfort zone or their field of primary interest?

With more than 3100 members distributed across the planet and active in a variety of professional fields, the one-year-old CERN Alumni network proves that there are actually plenty of options for scientists, IT specialists and engineers leaving the Organization. To help its members deal with a career transition, the CERN Alumni Office has organised the first in a series of workshops: “Moving out of academia to... the financial sector”. Indeed, the wide field of finance seems to highly value skills in computer modelling, statistical analysis of complex network systems and working with large data sets, as well as the problem-solving, internationally oriented and flexible attitude that most scientists develop throughout their studies and early career at CERN.

The first workshop was a great success, attracting 90 people who gathered at CERN and a few who connected remotely to hear from the six panellists – all CERN Alumni – who shared with the audience the positive (and less positive) aspects of working in finance as well as the best practices to effectively perform such a transition. The seminar was facilitated by Rami Kamalieddin, CERN physicist and Administrator of the CERN Finance Club.

The constructive feedback received from participants will guide the CERN Alumni Office in organising future workshops in the series, which will always involve CERN Alumni as both panellists and members of the audience. The next workshop will take place on 21 September and will focus on “Moving out of physics to data science”.

To watch the recordings of the workshop and see the presentations, visit this Indico page.

Visit for more information and to connect to the CERN Alumni Network.